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Board works on legislative priority list

With a new year and a new legislative session about a monthaway, Lincoln County supervisors want lawmakers to know thecounty’s needs and priorities in 2004.

County Engineer Carl Ray Furr told supervisors Monday that the2004 legislative session, which begins Tuesday, Jan. 6, at noon,will be a key session. The first session of a new four-year termlasts 120 days instead of the usual 90 days.

Furr encouraged supervisors to contact area lawmakers andschedule a meeting with them to discuss topics of interest.

“We need to get an agenda and deliver it to them in the next twoweeks,” Furr said.

District Three Supervisor and Board President Nolan EarlWilliamson cited several concerns during Monday’s regularmeeting.

“If they want to help us, there’s a bunch of ways I can tellthem to help the people of Lincoln County,” Williamson said.

Roads were at the top of the supervisor’s list.

Williamson said timber and poultry were the county’s biggestagricultural activities, but the heavy trucks that transport thegoods were damaging county and State Aid roads. Truck weightsmentioned Monday were 80,000 to 84,000 pounds, yet the weight limiton State Aid roads is only 57,000 pounds.

“They are killing us…,” Williamson said about the inadequateweight limits. “That’s a problem that’s got to be addressed.”

Furr said there was a question about enforcement of a state lawand rural county roads.

Williamson said counties also need help with mapping servicesfor property tax reappraisal efforts. Costs for getting new mapshave been estimated at $25,000 to $150,000.

Supervisors have had discussions on moving toward a GeographicInformation Systems (GIS) digital service that would allow maps tobe used for tax and a variety of other purposes. Furr said stateofficials are working on a GIS plan for counties.

Williamson also mentioned ongoing struggles with garbagecollection and disposal costs.

“There’s not but one way to go, and that’s up,” Williamsonsaid.

Furr also suggested supervisors set their agenda for federalfunding assistance on county projects. Supervisors have started aplan to making yearly trips to Washington to lobby the state’scongressional delegation for help.

The engineer reported good progress on $500,000 in funds soughtthis year for government complex renovation and improvement. Furrindicated a bill could be approved later this month, and the fundsbe available in the first quarter of next year.

“Everything right now looks good,” Furr said.

Possible federally-assisted projects mentioned Monday includerenovation of the county-owned Boys and Girls Club building and aBogue Chitto community center.

In other business Monday, board attorney Bob Allen updatedsupervisors on efforts to lease land for a new District One barnfrom the East Lincoln Volunteer Fire Department.

“It’s not going to be a problem,” said Allen, who is talkingwith Lincoln County Superintendent of Education Perry Miller aboutthe project.

The county is trying to get 10 acres for the barn. However, thedepartment’s station is on the site of the old East Lincoln School,which is controlled by the school district.

“Their lease has a clause that we have to go through theschools,” Allen said.

The current District One barn is on outgoing Supervisor VediaGivens’ property and, under the term of the lease, must be movedwhen she leaves office. Incoming District One the Rev. Jerry L.Wilson said he is satisfied with having the county barn near thevolunteer fire department on East Lincoln Road.